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MM2 and Fishstick - plow doing wrong things... Help?

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by ETMegabyte, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. ETMegabyte

    ETMegabyte Member
    Messages: 41

    About 14 months ago, I purchased a 2003 GMC 2500HD with a Minute Mount 2 plow setup (with a fishstick)...

    When I test drove the truck, I had a problem with the plow while playing with it that no matter what button I hit (up, left, right) the plow wanted to angle to the right. Eventually I fiddled with it enough to get it to go up so I could drive it back to the dealer. At that time, the dealer said it was an easy fix and that it would be fixed before I picked up the truck. I figured it was a loose wire or something.

    Anyway, I bought the truck, and the plow worked just fine... Until today...

    We're in the middle of a fairly sizable storm in NH, and I just did my first run on the driveway this morning (and the bulk of the snow has yet to come). Low-and-behold, the problem came back again. Occasionally when I hit a button, for about half a second it looks like it wants to do what it's supposed to do, but then "falls-back" to angling to the right. Most of the time it just goes to the right without any hesitation...

    For some reason I recall a comment from the dealer that it had something to do with the 3-pin connector between the truck and the plow frame. Is this something as simple as cleaning the contacts at the connection point and putting some electronics grease in there to keep the water out, or is it something different? Has anyone else ever had this problem? Considering I've now had it twice, I have to assume this is somewhat common.

    The truck is in my garage now, so in a little while I'll go out and take a look at it (once the snow melts off of it a little), but if anyone has run into this before and can point me in the right direction, it'd save me a bunch of troubleshooting time!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Samwise

    Samwise Junior Member
    from S. NH
    Messages: 2

    I've got the exact same problem as you. Have had the plow 3 years now, got it used but have never had a problem until tonite. Luckily I was able to borrow a truck with plow to semi finish my main accounts. I'm pretty sure you are right, in that the problem has something to do with the 3 pin connector that controls the valves on the plow. Beyond that, I don't know. Like you, I'm hoping it's just a bad connection and with some cleaning perhaps it'll work. Not going to mess with it now, been out since 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. Will give it a go in the morning, or later this morning I should say. Gonna continue looking at other threads in hopes that I can find a solution. If I find one, I'll come back and let you know. In the mean time, hopefully someone who knows the answer will see this thread and reply. Good luck to you.
  3. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    If your descriptions are accurate and the grill plugs are clean and tight then both of you have faulty controllers. They won't begin to raise and then stop and angle right unless the controller tells it to.
  4. mrv8outboard

    mrv8outboard Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    If it angles right only when you "raise", "angle left" it is probably a broken wire in the plow side harness. The light blue wire right at the molded plug. It go in to the S3 coil.
  5. Samwise

    Samwise Junior Member
    from S. NH
    Messages: 2

    Just wanted to give an update. The problem was indeed in the 3 pin connector on the plow side. There was nothing visibly wrong, and when checking continuity of the wires more often then not, they seemed fine. The "wiggle test" definitely pointed to the wires at the connector, but I kept second guessing myself when the continuity was broken, thinking I didn't touch the wires properly when testing. I just didn't want to spend money on a part unless I was Positive that was the problem.

    Anyway, the problem was a wire that was broken internally that could not be found with a visual inspection. Long story-short, purchased a new plow side wireing harness for the valves which included the 3 wire connector for $50.00, 5 minutes to install and the plow is working fine. And yes it was the blue wire going to S3 that was the main culprit, but as I was futzing around with the old connector to make sure that it was indeed the problem, the other wires became less dependable as well.

    Thanks to those who replied to this thread with your insight. Much appreciated.
  6. ETMegabyte

    ETMegabyte Member
    Messages: 41

    Just wanted to give an update on my status (which is different than Samwise)...

    I brought my truck to the local shop, and they suggested replacing the 3 pin plug. It's a $60ish part from my local Fisher dealer. They said that often the connecting and disconnecting of the plug breaks the wires, usually on the truck-side of the connector... So taking their advise, I changed mine, and it didn't fix it... *sigh* Waste of $60...

    Not knowing what to do next, I brought the truck to the Fisher dealer, and they tested the fish stick next. Note on my situation, occasionally mine worked fine, other times it only went right no matter what button I pushed... After I posted above, and after replacing the plug, I was forced to use the plow more, and upon further use, I found that if I held the fish stick a certain way, and pushed the buttons a certain way, that it worked upwards of 90% of the time. Come to find out, there are multiple relays in the fish stick, each controlling a different solenoid on the plow frame itself. Occasionally my fish stick wasn't engaging all the proper solenoids, and I think this was the problem with my system... I finished out plowing using the "broken" fishstick...

    The replacement PCBoard for my fish stick is $179 at the Fisher Dealer. I found it for $120 including shipping on eBay (brand new in the sealed package)...

    Before I dropped a hundred bucks or more, I took mine apart and went at it with a q-tip and some electronics cleaner (paying close attention to the contact pads and the small solenoids on the back side of the PCB). Talking to friends told me that sometimes it helps, especially since sometimes my fish stick worked properly... So I cleaned it thoroughly and put it back together... The q-tip did have some black on it after I was done, so....

    I put the plow back on the truck tonight since we're getting another storm tomorrow morning, but initial tests are good. It angled slightly left when I told it to, and it went up and down three times without issue...

    Once the storm hits I'll be using my plow more, so I'll update if it is indeed fixed, but so far so good...
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  7. ETMegabyte

    ETMegabyte Member
    Messages: 41

    Update: My plow worked perfectly fine through the first storm after cleaning the fish stick...

    During the second storm, it glitched only a couple of times, and only for brief periods...

    Since that time it's stayed about the same. Occasionally it glitches (about 1 time in 25), but most of the time it's just fine. I'm not going to bother fixing it at this point. I will continue to use it as it is through this season, and maybe pick up another whole fish stick (or maybe a joystick) in the off-season when the prices will be lower...
  8. Greenmtboy

    Greenmtboy Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 373

    In some cases there could be a little debris keeping a valve from full closing causing your plow to have a mind of its own. Good luck.
  9. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    I had the EXACT same issue with my MM1 this year. It was the blue wire in the 3 pin harness on the plow side. The wire had cracked INSIDE the insulation about an inch down from the head of the plowside connector...when I toned it out for continuity it checked out every time and a few times it was good enough to carry enough current to open the valve properly, but depending on how the wires were laying when I was using the plow, sometimes it would open up and all the plow would do was move to the right. I installed a bypass wire from the head of the connector directly to the solenoid and it worked great.

    2 years ago I had the exact same issue with my plow...it was the same damn wire on the truck side connector. Get your fishstik outside so you can hit the buttons while you're near the front of the truck (or have a helper) and with the plow all the way to the right, jiggle and flex the 3 pin connector while your assistant hits the left angle button. I bet when you hold the connectors at some angles, that the plow works normally.

    I'm skeptical that more than one fishstick controller will fail in the same way at the same time on one truck. Take your controller and plug it into someone else's truck and see what happens...should be easy to eliminate that as a problem. Don't bother replacing the controller until you cna confirm its actually the culprit. The two sides of the 3 pin plug can be had for $40 each on Ebay if you hunt around and they're relatively easy to install.